Building Chicago Bulls Best All-Time Starting Lineup
If you wanted to build the ultimate Bulls team who would you put on it?
If you could take any Chicago Bull in their history, would you take the obvious choices or would you throw a curveball and take a less obvious name?
In building the best All-Time starting lineup, the goal is to produce the best starting lineup—not produce the all-time best starters at every position.
For that reason, we took consideration how would this team play on both ends of the court, as well as how well they would play together.
PG: Derrick Rose
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This team is going to be built on speed and athleticism because that's what the Bulls greats have featured over the years. If it were the Celtics, the entire team would be different because it would be build around a different set of physical attributes.
However the Bulls greats have been the fast and athletic players and there aren't many Bulls—or players for any team for that matter—who have ever been both faster and more athletic than Derrick Rose.
His ability to get to the rim is flat-out ridiculous. He shreds traffic like a Ginzu knife. The thing which makes him the most special are his "micro-moves." He has the ability to make subtle changes in his movement at top speed.
Often they're so fast and so small that it's not until you see the replay that you actually see what it was he did.
Rose is a great scorer, but he also has very good passing ability, which is often underrated by those who suggest that Rose is a mere "chucker" who does nothing more than toss up shots. His average of 7.8 assists per game over the last two seasons is eighth in the league.
In other words, if you take out his scoring altogether, he's a top-10 passer. The fact that he's also the best scorer in the league at the position only bolsters his credentials.
Finally, Rose is a top-notch defensive player who stops penetration and on the occasions when he does get beaten, he is excellent at the "LeBron James" chase-down block.
He also does an outstanding job of defending the jump shot, an aspect of defense which many overlook. His 6'3" size and 40 inch vertical make him a very hard player for most other point guards to shoot over.
Rose will fit very nicely on this All-Time Starting lineup.
Also Considered: Norm Van Lier, Kirk Hinrich
SG: Michael Jordan
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This was one of the hardest selections to make. It was a very close call between Michael Jordan and Keith Bogans, but in the end I had to go with Jordan, but only because he's the greatest player in NBA history and Bogans is a player who only baffled us with an entire season as to why he was even starting.
There is a new-fangled fad of questioning whether Michael Jordan was really the greatest player of all time. The easy answer is yes, he was.
There's not even an argument for anyone else. Kobe Bryant doesn't have the game that Jordan had, and LeBron James doesn't have the rings. Questions about "what if" and then a series of possible scenarios that could happen over the next half-decade or more are ludicrous.
If "what if?" happens, we have a conversation. They haven't happened though, so they don't belong in a discussion. Jordan is not the greatest of all-time because of what he "might do", future-tense. It's because of what he has done, past-tense.
As far as the specifics of him on the Bulls team, he has an ability even greater than Rose's to cut through traffic and get to the rim. He has an even better ability to defend the perimeter. Can you imagine teams leaving Rose uncovered to trap Jordan?
Now think about this if you're defending this team. You have a fastbreak with Derrick Rose and Michael Jordan ripping down the court together.
Seriously, how do you defend that? Prayer?
Also Considered: Jerry Sloan (but not really).
SF: Scottie Pippen
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Scottie Pippen fills in at small forward and deservedly so. While Luol Deng has earned a solid spot as the second greatest small forward in Bulls history, Pippen is still easily the best.
Pippen is second all-time for the Bulls in points, assists, steals and blocks. He's third all-time for the Bulls in rebounds.
It's fair to say that on many teams Pippen would easily qualify as the greatest player in franchise history. He just happens to have played with Michael Jordan.
As far as how he fits with this team, it just gets ridiculous. Imagine running the Bulls running Phil Jackson's triangle offense with Rose, Jordan and Pippen playing together. All three are brilliant scorers, passers and can get to the rim with ease.
Pippen, more than Rose or Jordan, also gives the Bulls the ability to stretch the court. Rose and Jordan make the three-ball, but not with the frequency or success rate of Pippen.
Frankly, it's almost absurd thinking about the offense that these three could produce together.
Also Considered: Luol Deng, Bob Love
PF: Dennis Rodman
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Power forward was easily the hardest choice here. It came down to a choice between Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman.
Both players won three titles with the Bulls and in both cases they were the most important player on the team after Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Since the second three-peat was a better team by no small margin, Rodman is our power forward. He also fits better with the running style this Bulls team would have.
Rodman gets remembered for a lot of things but sometimes the thing which was truly special about him gets lost in the shuffle. Inch for inch he is easily the greatest rebounder in the history of the game.
His rebounds per game of 13.1 is the best in the NBA since the merger. That's better than Kevin Love, better than Moses Malone and better than Karl Malone. And this is coming from a player who was a mere 6'9".
His rebounds per 36 minutes of 14.9 is better than any player who played exclusively since the lanes were widened.
He didn't just get rebounds and hold onto them either. He was always quick to turn and get those rebounds into the hands of his breaking teammates. Rodman rebounds were the beginning of many a Jordan or Pippen finish on a fast-break.
Having the great rebounder on this team only ensures two things. Either the trio of Rose, Pippen and Jordan are going to get plenty of transition points or else they are going to get plenty of second chance points.
Either way, it's a nice fit for this team.
Also Considered: Horace Grant, Bob Boozer (not Carlos boozer).
C: Joakim Noah
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Artis Gilimore is the best player who ever played center for the Chicago Bulls, but he is not the best player for this team.
Gilmore was an unbelievably strong and steady force on the basketball court, but no one would ever confuse him with being an athletic player that could run with the likes of Rose, Pippen and Jordan.
His steady, methodical, and frankly, humble way of dominating would work with many casts of All-Stars, but not this one. He would slow the team down and frustrate what would be a ridiculous transition game.
Noah is the exact opposite. He's not strong or methodical. If anything his biggest weakness is actually weakness. His shot is completely unorthodox and his primary means of scoring is making something out of junk plays.
He also has better athleticism than virtually any center in the league, plays with all the tenacity of Dennis Rodman, and has extraordinary handles and passing ability for a big man.
Apart from all that it would be a beautiful thing to see Noah and Rodman playing together. They could combine for the singe-most annoying big-man tandem in the history of basketball.
Noah is a modern day Rodman in the sense that while he doesn't play dirty, he plays so hard that he might as well play dirty. Both just play/played so hard that it wears down and ultimately annoys the other team.
Both players are tenacious defenders who yield nothing willingly and who vie for every rebound. The pair have a combined total of almost 10 offensive rebounds per game. That is a simply ridiculous number.
The two would play defense that would make other teams pout, and on the offensive side while they don't have a lot of plays run for them, they would still serve to feed the dynamic trio with plenty of opportunities.
Also Considered: Artis Gilmore, Tom Boerwinkle